Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: Starry Safari by Linda Ashman
Why we love this book:
The main character takes us on safari racing in her sturdy jeep. Beep! Beep! Beep! This safari jeep ride brings back memories of my own amazing safari ride. I love how the author uses action words and adjectives to bring the animals and adventure to life. Suddenly, a lion begins circling round. It pounces. CRASH!
But there’s nothing to fear! We find the little girl tucked safely in bed with her red jeep, surrounded by all of her animal toys. A wonderful example of where a child’s imagination can take her! Excitement, adventure, imagination and a sweet story all rolled into one.
When planning a thematic unit I like to keep things simple and to keep the focus on the children rather than on teacher prepared materials. I begin each unit with a big stack of read aloud books and then pull two that I will revisit many times throughout the unit study. These books are the types of books we highlighted in our post: How to Pick Good Books for Preschoolers
Zoo Animal Thematic Unit
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
- Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. / Eric Carle
- I will read these books over and over again throughout our theme study.
- The children will begin to memorize the story and read along.
- The children will begin to recognize easy familiar words and letter sounds.
- Both books have simple, big, bold and bright pictures.
- Both books have text that is simple and repetitive.
- These books are written in a pattern style, with a rhythm that children quickly chime into.
- These books include easy familiar words that help children build a little core of known words.
- Both of these books introduce the children to new vocabulary.
- In addition to my two Shared Reading Books, I sprinkle the theme with wonderful children’s literature.
- These books are often too looooooooooong for preschool and kindergarten children. I simply read a little one day, mark it with a bookmark and pick it up again latter in the day or the next day.
Guided Reading / Independent Reading
- Guided Reading for Beginning Readers
- What is Independent Reading
- Teaching Children how to Make Good Book Choices
We have two FREE printable books for your Zoo Thematic Unit:
Art Extension – Painted Zoo Animals
- paper plates or circles cut from poster board
- tempera paint
- I keep things simple!
- I set-up my art extension in the art center or at my guided teaching table.
- I work with about 4 students a time.
- I ask each child, “Which animal would you like to paint?”
- What color is a _______________?
- Do you see any patterns on the animal’s fur/skin?
- I keep things simple! Each child paints the color and pattern of the selected animal on a circle.
- I keep things simple! No googly eyes, no fluffy feathers, no ears, no eyes, no mouth . . .
- With each child, I write the animal name.
- These animals will be used to act out I See the Zoo Animals song adaptation.
Writing / Song Adaptation / Drama
I See the Zoo Animals song adaptation to I Love the Mountains
- Head over to our post I Love the Mountains song adaptation for the words, tune and step by step directions.
- Print this Song FREE: I See the Zoo Animals
- large chart tablet
- sentence strips
- Brainstorm a list of zoo animals, “What animals do you see at the zoo?”
- Using the list of zoo animals, write a song adaptation: I See the Zoo Animals
- Write a sentence strip for each child and animal.
- The children can take turns displaying their animals and sentence strips as the class sings their song adaptation.
What a fun theme! And I haven’t even introduced math and the block center! I’ll be back next week with hands-on ideas for math and the block center . . .
I’ve included a sample of how we brainstorm and plan for a thematic unit. Remember our first rule: keep it simple! I jot down ideas knowing I won’t use all of my ideas. This is truly a brainstorming form. And of course it is actually handwritten and very messy. I tried to clean-up this sample for you but it is still done in a very informal manner.
Print this FREE Zoo thematic plan: Zoo Animal Thematic Unit
Print this FREE Thematic Planning Outline
Life with Joyce
We’re GIVING AWAY one copy of Starry Safari by Linda Ashman.
To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.
What is your favorite zoo animal. It’s hard for me to pick my favorite animal I saw on safari! (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)
One entry per person, please.
No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, August 16, 2012
The winner must be a resident of The United States.
The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, August 17, 2012. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!
Sharing this week at: